Kitchen at The New Institute | Germany

A kitchen for professionals

Unlike most Artichoke kitchen projects,  this commission was not a domestic space. The Warburg Ensemble – a collection of nine charming 19th-century townhouses in Hamburg, was to become the heart of The New Institute, a place where academics converge to drive social change.

The owner of the buildings, inspired by a previous Artichoke private commission, knew we possessed a unique ability to transform the kitchen. As part of this series, we also created a stunning home bar.

Our brief was to create a space worthy of acting as a hub of international connection and culinary delight.

The result is a simple yet elegant kitchen, equipped with everything needed for guests’ needs. By day, the room functions as a public space, where skilled chefs serve guests at the counter with delectable arrays of dishes and breakfast delights. In the evening, a place where international fellows gather, forging bonds over shared culinary experiences.

Space planning and architectural details

One of Artichoke’s signature approaches is to re-imagine the spaces available and only then design the furniture. Although already well underway, our client understood our unique approach and after careful consideration we were able to unlock the full potential of the room through dividing the space into distinct zones for specific functions. 

This control of the architecture meant we designed the room first and furniture second – creating a room that pushes the boundaries of form and function and achieving an effortless space for the highest levels of culinary and social use.

A place for work and a place to be

The kitchen needed to strike a perfect balance – open, inviting, and embodying a spirit of inclusivity but also a culinary theatre where chefs can perform their magic. A space where cooking is an immersive experience and where guests can engage with the chefs and each other.

While there was a service kitchen in the basement for the bulk of the cooking, this kitchen had a higher purpose—to create an atmosphere of connection and interaction.

Our brief encapsulated the project’s philosophies, influenced by the design principles of Ilse Crawford. Her humanistic approach to design, placing human needs and desires at the forefront, resonated with our own aspirations. Every detail considered to blend history, functionality, and aesthetics seamlessly.

The key to creating a kitchen that is spatially perfect and exquisitely detailed lies in controlling every aspect. So we built a deep frame into which the furniture can be installed. We added critical details – the arch that overcomes the ceiling height change but achieves the perfect proportions for the cabinets and richly decorated but tasteful European details for the furniture.

Detailing and aesthetics for a beautiful space

Tasteful neoclassical detail is our signature in this area, from the elegant cornices that echo the room’s tall ceilings to the seemingly modest details, like the shallow bolection moulding and delicate foot mouldings.

This design aesthetic also blends in all practical elements: the generous prep sink, the grand ‘Officine Gullo’ cooker, the sneeze guard and bespoke display fridges. These fridges are remarkable, specially designed to take a cabinetry frame with wooden doors, and blend beautifully into the room.

The serving table in the centre features clever pull-out sections that rest on lopers and serve a dual purpose: an extra surface for chefs to present food and maintaining a divide between the professionals and public when necessary. The sneeze guard was mandated by Health & Safety regulations but we designed it to integrate well into the room’s aesthetic.

For the walls, we chose Victorian-era moulded tiles, their precision reflecting a period when the crisp perfection of mass-produced tiles was novel and celebrated. With their special matte glaze, they bring a modern touch whilst honouring tradition.

The finish of the woodwork was a labour of love. Designed to appear as if it had been well looked after over many years of use, we introduced layers of paint to hint at the passage of time and history. The single colour used throughout creates harmony and lends a modern touch whilst providing a cosy and inviting atmosphere morning, noon and night.

The Artichoke Cooks Table

The centrepiece of the room, the Cook’s Table, was made from bleached African Mahogany and designed to evoke the charm of antique European furniture. Its intricate detailing, including a powerful, distinctive turned and faceted leg and brass angular handles, capture the essence of baroque craftsmanship.

It is a meticulously crafted yet functional piece. Bruce Hodgson, Artichoke’s founder, believes in the beauty of every detail, even when hidden from view. His philosophy is simple yet profound: “Even the underside of things should be beautiful.” It extends to the flawless planks under the worktable, which Bruce likens to “polishing the heel and the toe.” It is a reflection of Artichoke’s limitless attention to detail.

The Artichoke effect

Each dimension of this project reflects our dedication to creating a space where every detail, no matter how small, contributes to its overall success.

The New Institute initiative is rooted in people and their experiences – in part a quest to understand how design shapes the human journey within spaces. Our contribution mirrors this philosophy: places that invite and please – rooms that embody the art of holistic design.

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